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"The problem was that I got a great job right away"

portrait photo Anders Clenander
Anders Clenander teaches chemistry and maths at KTH. Photo: Peter Asplund.
Published Mar 27, 2024

Anders Clenander is the KTH teacher who believes in humility and clarity. He thinks it is important to keep the joy in his teaching over time, to get caught up in the students curiosity.

The technical preparatory year is a route into further engineering studies. For the lucky ones, Anders Clenander teaches chemistry and maths.

He is a full-time lecturer, and in addition to the basic technical year, he runs organic chemistry labs for university engineers.

Portrait photo Anders Clenander
Anders Clenander shows off a roller evaporator used in organic chemistry labs. The function of the device is to provide smooth evaporation of solvents, he says. Photo: Peter Asplund.

Take responsibility as a teacher

Anders Clenander has a clear idea of how to best meet students. This is where clarity comes into play. His experience comes from his own studies.

"Once upon a time I had a teacher who used to ask "Do you think there was something unclear that I should clarify?". I also use that question. Then I take responsibility as a teacher. The much worse variant is "Has everyone understood?", and rarely leads to a response from the students. Not to mention the even worse "Is there anyone who hasn't understood?" which is actually a direct criticism," says Clenander.

He finished his degree in chemistry and maths in 1995. "Those were really good times for the teaching profession and for the subjects.

"I was offered several jobs - both those I had applied for and those where I had been contacted. The job at KTH's basic year - partly in Haninge at the time - belonged to the latter category. The only problem was that I got a great job right away - and I'm still here almost three decades later," says Clenander with a smile.

Opening doors in the labour market

There are many reasons to study at KTH, exactly as many as the number of degrees issued throughout the university's almost two hundred years of history, for those who like to spread the word. Anders Clenander has his clear view on the matter.

"I think that KTH's engineering programme provides more breadth than the programme I attended myself. In addition, KTH is a good and viable brand, which in itself opens doors in the labour market," says Clenander.

He adds that what a new student can expect from student life at KTH is development. Of various kinds.

"The study period at KTH is an intense and fun year when you develop a lot both in terms of subject matter and as a person."

Anders three best study tips for a KTH student

  • Be kind to yourself! A programme is long and it is not reasonable that motivation and enthusiasm can be at its peak all the time. Being good enough on and off is just that - good enough.
  • Attend lectures and exercises. Partly to help you learn, but also for social reasons. The years at KTH will be more fun if you have fun in the meantime.
  • Stay in phase. This is often repeated, but is of great importance.

What is satisfying about teaching is when he and his class create a classroom environment characterised by warmth, acceptance and curiosity.  

"As a student, it might be easy to think that the teacher in front of the whiteboard is the person they are - no matter what the class is like. But the contribution of the class to the classroom environment is more important than a student might think at first".

Cautious of change

He usually gets feedback from the students on how well he succeeds. Some of the adjectives are pedagogical, structured and fun teaching.

"To get some balance, I should probably add that I am late to the game when it comes to new teaching aids. One advantage of the pandemic was that even a "change-averse" person like myself had to start with Zoom and other things with a very short adjustment period," he says.

This makes everyone think about modernities such as artificial intelligence. Here Anders Clenander sees opportunities, but also risks. For example, when it comes to students' report writing.

Finally: What has been the funniest moment as a teacher at KTH?

"There is no given moment. It is rather all the moments when you see how the students develop and how they seem to think that the subjects are really fun", says Anders Clenander.

Text: Peter Asplund ( p3t3r@kth.se )

Anders Clenander in brief

Age: 57 years.
Occupation: University lecturer.
Education: Subject teacher in chemistry and maths.
Residence: Villa in Kungsängen.
Family: Wife and two children - 17 and 15 years old.
Hobbies: Reading, jogging, wine tasting and dinners with family and friends.
Driving forces: There are new students starting every autumn. It's important to get caught up in their curiosity and not settle for "I can do this and it usually goes well". To keep the joy in your teaching. A new academic year means new students to motivate - they don't care if I was a good teacher last year if they think I'm bad this year.

Page responsible:redaktion@kth.se
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Mar 27, 2024